Out of all the emails I receive in regards to budgeting for travel plans backpacking Australia is without a doubt the place people are most worried about or needing information on. With their ever strengthening economy it’s not the cheap backpacker country it once was and it’ll take up a large chunk of your budget.
With most places I usually say around £1,000 per month (my monthly budget for Thailand was even less!) will leave you with plenty of cash to splash…backpacking Australia though (and I hate to be the person to break this to you!) will be nearly double that.
So here’s a break down of the main spends for backpacking Australia – accommodation, food, booze, activities and transport – so hopefully you can prepare for an amazing adventure down under…
(Last updated – Jan 2020, all $ prices are $AUD)
Backpacking Australia – How Much To Budget For A Month In Australia (2020 Update)
Accommodation In Australia
As one of the biggest destinations on the planet backpacking Australia comes with a wide variety of accommodation – whether you’re looking for hostels, hotels, boutique spas or even couch surfing there’s something for everyones taste.
I’m guessing most of you will be hitting up hostels (as they’re the most budget option) so I’ll focus on that.
Cheapest Bed – Beaches, Airlie Beach $20 (£12.50)
Most Expensive Bed – Wakeup, Sydney $40 (£25) (well worth it though!)
Favourite Hostel – Aquarius Backpackers, Byron Bay – $35 (£21)
Average nights accommodation (shared dorm) – $30 (£18.75)
Average nights accommodation (double/twin) – $80 (£50)
Average campsite (per tent) – $16 £10
Some of my top Australia hostels include;
- WakeUp! Sydney
- Aquarius, Byron Bay
- Byron Bay Beach Hostel, Byron Bay
- Bunk, Surfers Paradise
- Noosa Flashpackers, Noosa
- Halse Lodge, Noosa
- Nomads, Airlie Beach
- Absolute Backpackers, Mission Beach
- Base, Magentic Island
- Bungalow Bay YHA, Magnetic Island
- Gilligans, Cairns
Estimated accommodation costs:
Food and Drink Costs
Australia is pretty expensive when it come to eating out – so if you’re on a budget you’ll want to mix it up with a good bit of home cooking.
Saying that though many hostels offer some great backpacker feeds (like Sydneys “Wakeup”) for around $5 and there’s plenty of backpacker bars (like Byron Bays “Cheeky Monkeys”) which do the same, so you can grab a budget feed on the go too.
If you’re going out to party again the backpacker bars are the way forward and many of them (like Woody Surf Shack in Byron Bay or The Woolshed in Cairns) offer a whole host of giveaways and competitions, from surfboards to dive courses, so you make your night out well worth the money!
Favourite dish – Beach BBQ’s!
Cheapest meal – 5 min noodles! – $0.50 (£0.30p!) (add some veggies to pimp it out a bit and give it some nutrition!)
Average backpacker meal – around $5-10 (£4-7)
Average meal (based on cooking veggie pasta) – $5 (£3)
Average cost of beer (stubbie of Tooheys) – $5 £3
Average cost of a box of goon (Golden Oaks, 4 litres) – $15 (£9)
Average cost of beer (schooner of Stone and Wood, bar) – $8 (£5)
Average cost takeaway coffee – $5 £3.12
Average cost fruit smoothie – $8 (£5)
Favourite place to eat – hmmmm…this is a tough one as I try to cook myself whenever possible in Australia to save my budget!
Estimated food costs (based on cooking lunch, backpacker meal for dinner):
Transport In Australia
Australia has a pretty solid travel network that’s easy to use, book and get to pretty much everywhere – from low cost airlines and campervan rentals through to backpacker hop on hop off bus passes.
For the purpose of this break down I’m going to concentrate on the East Coast route – which is the most common route for backpacking Australia and has the most option in terms of bus transport.
Unfortunately as beautiful as the West Coast is you’re limited to Campervan hire and tours on that side of the country.
Here’s a couple of the main journeys you’ll want to make and how much they’ll set you back.
Internal flight (single) – Cairns to Sydney – $150 (£95)
Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Melbourne – $50 (£31)
Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Perth – $150 (£80)
Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Brisbane – $50 (£25)
Internal flight (single) – Sydney to Ballina (Byron Bay) = $50 (£25)
Oz Experience/Greyhound Pass – Sydney to Cairns – $449 (£270)
Greyhound WHIMit Pass (only restricted by time frame not route) – $329 (15 days) up to $1499 for an entire year!
Loka Travel Pass – Sydney to Cairns (includes various activities too) – $1135 (£710)
Australia Campervan hire – from $35 per day (£21 per day)
You’d potentially add in a single flight from Cairns to Sydney for an onward flight or a brief stop in Melbourne and fly to Sydney to save time. If you’re not sure on how to travel the East Coast check out this blog post.
Estimated travel costs in Australia:
(Greyhound Pass + Sydney to Cairns Flight)
Top Activities In Australia
One of the biggest draws of backpacking Australia is the amount of epic activities on offer!
The East Coast is rammed from top to bottom with loads to do – from day trips to learning new skills you can pretty much do anything from skydive to kayak!
In fact listing them all would take agggggges, so here are some of my favourite and most popular things to do up the coast…
PADI Open Water – 3 days, Cairns – $699 (£370)
Whitsundays Tours (2 day, 2 night) – $499 (£280)
Sydney Bridge Climb – $248 (£165)
Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Park Combo Pass – $55 (£34)
Great Ocean Road Trip – $170 (£106)
Surf lesson – Byron Bay – $69 (£43)
Australia Zoo – $100 (£62.50) inc return bus from Brisbane
Fraser Island 4×4 Tag Along (3 day, 2 night camping option with 1 night pre and post tour in Rainbow Beach) – $499 (£305)
Fraser IslandDay Trip – $175 (£95)
Magnetic Island Package (inc return ferry, 2 nights accom & welcome drink) – $118 (£67.50)
Great Barrier Reef Day Trip (snorkelling) – $140 (£95)
Great Barrier Reef Day Trip (scuba dive taster) – $210 (£131)
Skydive (15,000 feet) – $275 (£165)
If I had to pull out what the average backpacking Australia trip would include over a month I’d say you’d be hoping to do most of the above, maybe excluding your PADI, Skydive, Great Ocean Road Trip and Sydney Bridge Climb.
Estimated activity cost:
So How Much Will you Need To Budget For Australia?
So based on my personal experience and what I assume the average backpacker would like to achieve on the East Coast trail I’d say you’ll be paying for the following;
- 30 nights accommodation
- 3 meals daily
- Sydney to Cairns Greyhound Pass
- Whitsundays sailing adventure
- Fraser Island 4×4 Safari
- Magentic Island Package
- Barrier Reef snorkel trip
- Surf lesson in Byron Bay
- Australia Zoo
MONTHLY TOTAL = $3270 (£2045)
Daily Budget = $109 (£68) per day
This budget for backpacking Australia includes accommodation, meals, transport and the main activities as listed above.
I’d like to point out though that this is merely a base point for your budgeting though and it’s always best to over compensate when it comes to money as it’s very much a personal thing – and of course you’re drinking will add some dollar on top.
This 4 weeks would allow you to pretty much cover the whole East Coast Australia backpacker trail and you’d be packing in all the main sites and things to do – including spots like Byron Bay, Fraser Island, Whitsundays, and Cairns.
Some people will easily spend less than this – especially if you’re on a years working holiday visa and pacing yourself up the coast, or simply have longer to spend on your trip.
And also keep in mind the longer you’re travelling for the more spread out your bigger costs will be (like tours and bus passes) so your daily spend will obviously be lower.
But if you’re pushed for time in Australia and want to do pretty much all the bucket list ticks it’s all parcelled into the above summary and 4 weeks is the ideal amount of time to spend on that route.
You can also customise your own East Coast package to suit your personal time frame, budget and preference.
Is It Worth The Money?
Even though it cost more than places like NZ or Thailand I totally recommend you visit there. It’s an amazing place to explore and is still one of my favourite countries on the planet to travel to.
You can also save heaps with some awesome East Coast Australia Package deals which bundle in accommodation, tours and travel passes to help you save. So check these East Coast deals out – you can even tailor them even further to suit your times frames and budget.
Found this post helpful? Check out my other How Much To Budget Posts!
- How Much To Budget For A Month In Thailand
- How Much To Budget For A Month In New Zealand
- How Much To Budget For A Month In Bali & Indonesia
- How Much To Budget For A Month In The Philippines
- How Much To Budget For A Month In Cambodia
- How To Travel The Maldives On A Budget
- Backpack South Africa – How Much To Budget
For more info on how long to spend on the East Coast trail check out this post.
Or let me help plan your Aussie Adventure with my East Coast Australia Trip Planner!
Been to Oz recently?
How much did you spend backpacking Australia and what was your original Australia budget?
**PLEASE NOTE; This is to be used as a guide only – currency and cost fluctuate depending on season and exchange rates (calculated at 1.8AUD per £1GBP. Information was correct at the time of writing)**